In Search of Lost Frogs: The Quest to Find the World's Rarest Amphibians
Dr. Robin Moore
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A beautifully rich and personal exploration of the plight of amphibians and the people working to save them. Moore's book proves him not just a fantastic photographer but an excellent reporter and compelling storyteller. Such a vital part of the natural world, amphibians are lucky to have this artist on their side.
-- Jennifer S. Holland, NYT best-selling author of Unlikely Friendships and Unlikely Loves. Her latest book is Unlikely Heroes.
A magnificent record of the global hunt for "lost" frog species.
Dr. Robin Moore has a passion for frogs and a fascination with finding new and "lost" species. In 2010, he spearheaded the worldwide "Search for Lost Frogs" campaign, which coordinated the efforts of 33 teams of scientists in 19 countries on five continents in a quest to find 100 species of amphibian not seen in over a decade.
In Search of Lost Frogs is a stunning record of Moore's journey and what he and his team did (or did not) find. The book is overflowing with exquisite close-up photographs by Moore that display the frogs' remarkable coloring and camouflage, and reveal their diminutive size -- many of the frogs are less than 5 cm long, if that. Moore's engaging text tells the story of the expedition, its highs and lows, discoveries and failures, and the campaign's ongoing work.
The book's first half covers what frogs do for the health of the planet, the slippery slope of extinction, what is being done to monitor frog populations and find lost species, the Lazarus project (which aims to "revive" lost species) and the author's career-long resolve to find the Mesopotamia Beaked Toad.
The second half of the book is about the searches. Moore describes the struggles, victories and dangers as well as the science. He takes readers along as his team trudge through rainforest, climb mountains and paddle rivers in search of the lost frogs, some not seen for more than a century. He tells a story of perseverance, disappointment, rediscovery, resilience, but ultimately of hope, written with passion and illustrated with superb photographs. And a surprise ending: they found 15 lost frogs.
- In Ecuador, the Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad, not seen since 1995
- In Haiti, six rediscoveries, including the Ventriloquial Frog and Mozart's Frog, both lost for 20 years
- In India, the Dehradun Stream Frog, last seen (and only once) in 1985; the Elegant Tree Frog (1937); the Chalazodes Bubble Nest Frog (1874); the Anamalai Dot-Frog (1938)
- In Democratic Republic of Congo, the Omaniundu Reed Frog (1979)
- In Ivory Coast, the Mount Nimba Reed Frog (1967).
Naturalists, lovers of all things frog, schools and interested general readers will enjoy the stunning photographs, the science and the adventurous stories of discovery.
the last year observed for each harlequin frog species (Jason Rohr from the University of South Florida and colleagues later said this “represents perhaps the most comprehensive dataset on the timing of a modern day mass extinction within a single genus”) against a number of possible factors. Four out of five missing harlequin frog species, they reported, had disappeared after a relatively warm year – the chances of this happening by coincidence were less than one in 1,000. Returning to the gun
morale is again sagging; not only have we not found the toad, but we have not found a single amphibian. We are thankful to Don for a perfectly timed moment of comic relief when he loses his footing on a large mossy rock and cartwheels in slow motion to face-plant in the river, emerging spluttering and ashen-faced. We allow him a moment to regain his composure before launching into an unofficial but good-humoured ‘who can do the best Don falling in the river replay’ contest. Late in the
back and tail…” My brother nudges up the volume of ‘Here Comes the Sun’ to subtly drown out my unsolicited natural history lessons. Their indifference fuels my fascination, which becomes mine and mine alone, like a tightly held secret. Eventually we pull into a rough farm-track that leads us to a small bleached-white house perched on a grassy hill. The Datsun stops with a creak and my mother turns round to address us before we disappear: “Don’t forget to ….” Clunk – the car door is already
in Israel, with someone you have never met?” The surly woman at Israeli immigration stares at me, unflinching, as she delivers this summary of her interrogation. “Well, now that’s not exactly what I said …” I begin, explaining again that the Hula Valley really is in Israel even if she has never heard of it, and while I have never met my travel companion, we have exchanged many emails, and he is waiting for me in arrivals. And he’s one of the leading amphibian biologists in Israel, in case that
for sadness, to lament the loss of frogs from cool streams and glassy pools across South America and beyond. It was my first search for a lost frog, but just one step of a bigger journey. The following year in the shallows downstream I saw my first corpse. She was also a harlequin frog, but a different kind – with brilliant yellow on black, she was as beautiful in death as in life. Her stillness was broken only by the rhythmic wash of water on splayed limbs, and onto her back clung a male –